Part 6: Strategic Planning – The Meeting: Defining Values and Purpose
By: Jonny Baker, Senior Manager, Strategic Management Consulting Services
The following is part six of a nine-part series on strategic planning. This blog series includes identifying the need for strategic planning, setting a level playing field, defining the organization and its purpose, and selecting the initiatives, goals, and actions that will make the organization successful.
Previously we reviewed mission and the ‘why’ of the organization’s existence. In order to continue to reach toward that ultimate goal of mission fulfillment, what values and purpose should our people possess? When we hire, do we consider fit by evaluating what frameworks we have deemed necessary for success in the organization? Can our people clearly state what we do and how we are different from competitors?
Like your mission, some values are everlasting and do not change, however, other values should change as the organization matures, grows bigger, and learns how to compete in the ever-changing marketplace.
What are values? Values are an attempt to answer how the employees of X organization operate and what is core to the organization. You should ask yourself, your key leaders, and employees, “What values do we hope to have as an organization in one year, two years, five years, 10 years, etc?” “What values are currently resembling weeds in our garden that need to be plucked or doused with RoundUp?” Across your organization’s matrix of values, you must identify the values most critical to the success of your organization and its mission. Values that may sound right but are not distinct from your competitors should be re-evaluated and replaced with values that are specific to your organization.
KHA Management Consultants has frameworks for identifying and solidifying your organization’s values. These frameworks will help you across several parameters as you begin your strategic planning.
WHAT DO WE DO?
Your company provides either a tangible or an intangible product that comes with excellent customer service. All businesses should strive to provide either a tangible or intangible product with excellent customer service. I can assure you, however, that all organizations are saying this; some are doing it, perhaps even better than your organization is currently. Unless you are in a highly fractured industry where the levels of customer service offerings are opposites, answering that you provide a product with excellent customer service is not a good answer or definitive answer to give to this question.
Your answer must be brief and have the capacity to be refined over time. Answering the “what do we do” question is one of the most critical exercises to take your management team through. Everyone, including stakeholders, leaders, and all employees in your organization must truly understand and believe that what your organization does makes a difference and that your organization specifically is best equipped to meet the needs of the marketplace and consumers around it. In answering this question on what your organization does, management must balance aspiration and pragmaticism. If your organization’s “do’s” are too pragmatic, consumers and employees will not be drawn to your organization’s solution, whereas if your answer is too aspirational, people will doubt it, or worse, they will mock your solution. Your organization’s answer must anchor your team together, and when decisions are made, your decisions should all be evaluated through the lens of this answer.
THE CRITICAL NEXT STEPS
We know who we are, but how do we cross the chasm to success? What specific items should we be doing? What should we be proactively thinking about, and how can the company benefit from our actions?
We understand our organization, its mission, values, and vision, but where do we get started to make it a successful company that will withstand generations and generations of change?
Ideas lead to success. What did the opening sentence to this paragraph make you think? Ideas do not lead to success, at least not directly. Ideas that are well thought out with economic logic and are combined with sound execution lead to success. A CEO of a Fortune 100 company once said, “I have more ideas than I know what to do with; I need people that can sell and execute them!”
Solving this problem of having too many ideas is one thing, while another more difficult problem is setting plans in motion to see that execution of the good ideas occur. Our focus areas in the next installment will be on organization strategic initiatives, goals, and actions. Using the three latter pillars of strategic planning will allow you and your team(s) to be synced at the beginning of the planning phase, during the execution of the strategic plan, and at the end of the process when a celebration is due.
At KHA Management Consultants, we have experience working with organizations on Strategic Planning. We facilitate the process with the organization’s key constituents to ensure buy-in, ownership, and a new way of thinking about the organization and its stakeholders among all levels of employees. From a resource perspective, we primarily use our experience but also tap into the top-level resources such as those provided by Harvard Business Review and MentorPlus. Some of those materials, frameworks, and lessons have been used in writing this blog.
KHA Management Consultants, the consulting wing of KHA Accountants, PLLC, based in Flower Mound, Texas, is always looking for key clients ready to take their business to the next level. If you have a desire to improve, take the first step toward success with the strategic planning experts, and contact us at 972-221-2500.